4 Ways to Incentivize Affiliates

Incentivizing affiliates can sometimes be a misunderstood technique in growing an affiliate program. An incentive campaign should not be a “one size fits all”, but a more holistic strategy to ensure all affiliates are treated properly.

For example, creating a “one size fits all” incentive campaign that will provide an 8% commission increase on all sales for affiliates that doubled their sales from the previous month.

In theory, it sounds like a great idea, but it is isolating the affiliate program’s top performers. They are required to double their sales in order to get the 8% increase on all sales, but that is a tall task to ask. There was only a short-term outlook, not a long-term one. When rolling out new affiliate incentive plans, remember to think holistically and not in a vacuum.

Below are multiple ways to incentivize affiliates.

Tiered Commissions

This relates to my example above and how important it is to make sure the commission increases and bonuses are fair for everyone involved.

Providing enticing commission goals is key to any successful incentive campaign. There is nothing wrong with having two separate campaigns running simultaneously, one for the top performers and one for the rest of the affiliates.

If the current commission is at 10% per sale, then having a campaign that will top off at 15% (if specific metrics are reached) could be implemented using a tiered strategy.

It should not simply be doubling the number of sales month over month, but instead reviewing their historical performance and devising goals out of it.  The top performers produce a majority of the affiliate program’s revenue and need to be treated in a way that they are appreciated. This will help keep them a top partner for many years to come.

On the other hand, doing a tiered commission bonus program can ignite stagnant affiliates and increase their production. By providing them attainable goals they may put in more effort to start producing sales seeing the end result as increasing their bottom-line. It could be as simple as announcing that if affiliates increase their sales in the month by 20% month over month they will receive a 5% commission increase on all sales.

The little things can sometimes induce change, and quickly.


Who doesn’t like a prize?

Not all affiliates are driven by money, but in order to create a holistic incentive campaign, other avenues besides monetary rewards should be explored.

Contests and prizes show affiliates two things:

1. Their effort and hard work are appreciated

2. Shows them there is loyalty.

Prizes can be as simple as gift cards or as extravagant as vacations. Contests can really light fires under affiliates. They see a competition and immediately begin to attempt to win.

Contests are great for inactive affiliates that affiliate managers are looking to activate. Having them see the end game written out can motivate affiliates to push hard and achieve the goal.

Content Ideas

This particular one may not be seen as a largely used incentive for affiliates, but it is one that should be in all affiliate managers toolboxes.

The saying is “Content is King”, and they couldn’t be more correct.

Affiliates are always looking for new content ideas, so why not provide them with fresh content or topics to run with? Some affiliates value this higher than monetary rewards.

Giving affiliates a list of the top-selling products so they can write reviews is a great way to have loyal affiliate partners. If the content is being provided to affiliates the affiliate manager must ensure it is not just copied and pasted but re-written in a way to not throw up red flags in Google.

Additional Incentive Ideas

Not all incentives have to be reward based. A couple of additional ideas for incentives to affiliates include co-branded landing pages and exclusive coupons/deals.

Co-branded landing pages help convert traffic at a higher number than regular landing pages, so equipping affiliates with ways to help convert their traffic will entice them to push harder when promoting.

Also, exclusive coupons/deals offer an incentive for the affiliate to promote. They know that their audience will be getting a deal no one else can.

By doing this, the affiliate sees that the affiliate manager values the relationship and will continue putting ample effort in to promote the brand.

Affiliate incentives come in all forms. There is not a “one size fits all” approach to incentivizing affiliates, but properly researching and planning each one is key to the success.

Providing affiliates the opportunity to increase their revenue or win prizes can increase the morale of the program and also provides a great opportunity to recruit additional high-quality affiliates.

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